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Christmas Traditions Are Great, but Jesus Is Better.

Jesus is better.

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We sang these lines at church recently (click here to listen to this song by Austin Stone Worship; it’s one of my favorites!). I stood with my brothers and sisters in Christ and sang this truth that Jesus is better than our sorrows, our victories, everything, and the Lord used this non-Christmas song to resonate with my heart and teach me as we enter this Christmas season.

I am the first one to admit that I love the traditions that come with Christmas. I love a good Christmas movie and family nights looking at Christmas lights. However, my anthem this Christmas (and always), is that Jesus is better. He is better than a perfectly decorated Christmas tree. Jesus is better than Christmas baking or Christmas shopping. He is better than lights on a house that would put the Griswolds to shame. Jesus is better than the newest recipe that’s a must-try. He is even better than the Christmas card photo where all of the children are somehow looking in the same direction and smiling.

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Yes, Jesus is even better than a Christmas Eve Waffle House breakfast

Truly, I believe Christmas traditions are good, and they are a wonderful grace God gives us to be intentional with our families and make memories together. But none of them are better than Jesus. At Christmas, we can get so caught up in the traditions and to-do lists that we forget this truth. We place these gifts God has given us higher than the Giver. This will quickly fill our Christmas with anxiousness and stress, instead of grace. Even in the midst of Christmas craziness, the Lord is using this line, “Jesus is better” to still my heart to the reason behind it all- Christ our Savior came to earth as a baby so that He might save me (and the world) from sin.

Friends, will you join me in declaring that “Jesus is better” this Christmas? Setting our hearts to this brings rest and freedom. When Jesus is better than a perfectly decorated Christmas tree, we’ll be okay if our toddler wants to clump all the ornaments together in one section. When Jesus is better than Christmas baking, we lose the need to impress others. Baking becomes an opportunity to bless others as Christ has blessed us. When Jesus is better, all of the traditions and celebrations just become “extras”. After all, most of our traditions (yes, even the Christ-centered ones) are man-made, and our man-made traditions should never trump Christ and having a heart for Him. May we always remember, Jesus is concerned most with our hearts, not the outward signs of a nativity scene or advent activities. When Jesus is better, those things will be out of the overflow of a heart filled with gratitude to our Savior. There will still be fun to be had in the traditions and celebrations, but they’ll grow strangely dim in the light of our Savior.

“Jesus is better” reminds us the best gift of Christmas is that Jesus gives us Himself. We could truly ask for nothing better. Because of Christmas, we have Christ and everything that He offers- peace, eternal life, forgiveness, and more. We must not get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas that we forget this or set it aside. Jesus must be our main thing, and everything else we do around Christmas (and always) should be an overflow of that. When our heart’s cry is that “Jesus is better” we will fall out of love with this world and more in love with Christ.

Above all, when “Jesus is better”, He becomes the object of our worship, as He should be. We are far too often tempted to place our worship on worthless things or fleeting joys. We put a picture-perfect Christmas on the throne of our hearts, and when things don’t go perfectly, we lose our joy and our Christ-glorifying attitudes. However, when Christ is on the throne, we will see mishaps and failures as opportunities for grace and gospel-conversations. Our toddlers’ tantrums will be a chance to discipline with love as Christ disciplines us. Gift-giving becomes a time to image our Creator and how generous He is. Indeed, everything we do will become an act of worship to our King that came all those years ago.

Dear friends, I hope you find Jesus to be better this Christmas. I pray you see Him as better than the family gatherings, cookie decorating, and presents. I pray you are filled with His joy, even if times are hard or things don’t go as planned. May Jesus be the object of our celebration this Christmas and may we shout this message from the rooftops to a lost world. Yes, Jesus is better!

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